punc·​til·​i·​ous | \ ˌpəŋk-ˈti-lē-əs How to pronounce punctilious (audio) \

Definition of punctilious

: marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from punctilious

punctiliously adverb
punctiliousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for punctilious

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

How Should You Use punctilious?

A punctilio is a small point—a minor rule, or a little detail of conduct in a ceremony. A person who pays close attention to such minor details is punctilious. Punctiliousness can be valuable, especially for certain kinds of tasks, as long as you don't become so concerned about small points that you fail to pay attention to the large ones.

Examples of punctilious in a Sentence

She's very punctilious about grammar. old-money aristocrats with a punctilious sense of propriety
Recent Examples on the Web His use of evidence, absorbed from vast archival sources and hundreds of interviews, is punctilious, his judgments measured, his wit dry and sympathetic, his prose classically balanced. Benjamin Schwarz, New York Times, "Seeing Margaret Thatcher Whole," 12 Nov. 2019 Random House Copy editors, the unsung heroes of newsrooms everywhere, finally get their due in Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer’s droll but punctilious book. Rachel King, Fortune, "The 10 Best Business Books of 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 Once a devoted, punctilious maid in various upper-class households, Ellen Bunting now misses the security of her old life. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "What if you saw something suspicious and did nothing? ‘The Lodger’ posits a consequence.," 21 Aug. 2019 It’s more money for a more precise and punctilious sound that should entice the pros and enthusiasts while still pleasing casual listeners as well. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Fender Ten 5 review: all about that treble," 9 July 2019 Charitable work can be very boring, especially when recounted in punctilious detail. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘The Duchess’ Review: How to Survive a Royal Romance," 17 May 2018 Her poise is the result of a loving yet punctilious upbringing by parents determined that their fame and its accompanying perks were not going to mollycoddle their two children. Michael Callahan, Town & Country, "Show Business Royalty Carys Zeta Douglas Is Ready for Her Close Up," 1 Aug. 2018 Rather, the director and his lead actor, partners in life and art, have a punctilious approach where language is everything. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, "Review: A ‘King Lear’ in Which You Feel for All the Daughters," 12 Apr. 2018 For a punctilious approach to plants on pergolas, allow the plants to grow a few, rather than just two, permanent cordons. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Your Own Kiwis In Your Backyard," 6 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punctilious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of punctilious

1617, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about punctilious

Time Traveler for punctilious

Time Traveler

The first known use of punctilious was in 1617

See more words from the same year

Statistics for punctilious

Cite this Entry

“Punctilious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctilious. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for punctilious


How to pronounce punctilious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of punctilious

formal : very careful about behaving properly and doing things in a correct and accurate way

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on punctilious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punctilious

Spanish Central: Translation of punctilious

Nglish: Translation of punctilious for Spanish Speakers

Comments on punctilious

What made you want to look up punctilious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!